There's no shortage of iPhone and iPod touch music players in the App Store. They all basically do the same thing, but each one presents your tunes in a unique way, using clever interfaces and bold fonts to make your music look as good as it sounds. Many of them subscribe to Dieter Rams' principles of good design, but as far as we can tell, only one pays direct homage to his timeless vision. To say T3 Player is inspired by Rams' Braun radio is like saying the iPhone 4S is inspired by the iPhone 4.
For as much as we ask of our calendars on our phones, they’re really only as smart as we make them. If we forget our friend’s birthday, it’s because we didn’t input it; if we’re late to a meeting, it means we messed up an alert. Tempo Smart Calendar, the first of what is sure to be a new generation of calendar apps, aims to take user error out of the equation. It also integrates with your social schedule like no other calendar. Along with usual iCloud and Google syncing, Tempo scans your email, contacts, and Facebook friends to generate a complete picture of your life, from tomorrow’s presentation to next month’s ski trip.
Budgeting isn't fun. Crunching numbers and tracking expenses is dull, tedious work we try to avoid at all costs, but it's a necessary fact of life — especially when you've got a couple of car bills and a mortgage. BUDGT understands our pain. With a delightfully simple interface and deceptively powerful money-managing tools, BUDGT will keep a close watch on your daily expenses — so long as you're willing to spend a little time with it each day.
We have dozens of ways to take notes on our iPhones, and while some have exquisite, minimal interfaces, others are feature-rich powerhouses that try to mimic desktop functionality on a mobile device. Write for Dropbox wants to be everything at once, and it comes as close to succeeding as any app we've ever used. By utilizing a nifty three-panel interface – with a tool bar, document list, and main writing window – Write deftly uses every inch of real estate at its disposal, with oodles of sharing options and one of the most powerful virtual keyboards we've ever used.
For many, the prospect of "inbox zero" seems impossible – the unicorn of modern communication. Mailbox understands this struggle to stay atop the constant deluge of digital correspondence, and sees the problem not as a matter of personal effort, but rather perception. As such, rather than resemble typical mobile email options, Orchestra's new iPhone app takes its inspiration from the to-do list, challenging users to clear their inboxes like checking tasks off when completed, with a handful of breezy actions used to facilitate the process.
Meeting new people can be extremely awkward, especially if you're not particularly good at remembering names and contact info, or interact with a lot of fresh faces. Luckily, if you have a short memory and an iPhone, Evernote Hello is about to become your new best friend. Powered by the company’s cloud-based sync service, Hello makes it easy to remember who, what, when, where, how, and even why you met someone, tucking all of this information neatly away and organized in a slick timeline.
When you think about it, the calendars on our iPhones aren't all that different than the ones that hang on our walls. Sure, we can set alerts for 2037 and fit much more than we can on those impossibly small squares, but for the most part, digital calendars haven't brought much new to the game. Horizon Calendar might not be a revolutionary change to mobile calendaring, but it's a good start. Its fresh, clean interface puts your events front and center with color-coded appointments and locations, and best of all, weather reports.
Gimmicky apps certainly have their place on our iPhones. At some point, we've all been suckered into plunking down our hard-earned pennies for an app that seemed like a great idea (iBeer, iSteam, etc), but ultimately they end up in one of those folders that rarely gets opened – or worse, deleted outright. Cycloramic might not seem like it belongs in that class, but after a few attempts to make a panoramic photo, it becomes clear that this phone-spinning app is mostly a short-lived diversion.
We've seen so many slick and beautifully manicured iPhone apps over the years that it's rare to be wowed by a newcomer. However, Vine does just that when you first pop it open, immediately launching a brief shared video clip without hesitation. And assuming you have a half-decent Wi-Fi or cellular signal going, it simply doesn't stop as you scroll down the feed, with each subsequent six-seconds-or-less clip loading quickly and without prompt, giving you a very small window into the life of whoever was on the other side of that iPhone. Finally, somebody nailed the Instagram-for-video concept. Granted, that "somebody" is Twitter.
Digisocial is the latest free iPhone app with ambitions to become its own mobile social network. Instantly familiar in design to anyone who’s used Instagram or Path, Digisocial adds the ability to send and receive HD-quality voice messages, and even record audio to accompany uploaded images. It’s a clever idea that mostly works as promised – the app is fast and responsive at sending text or voice messages, and it’s quite entertaining the first few times you use it. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think Digisocial is just one announcement away from obsolescence, should an existing rival decide to incorporate the same concept.